Halsey’s blast into the pop sphere has been a recent but immediately noticeable one, thanks in large part to her stunning debut album, Badlands. Released last month, the sharp, otherworldly LP is heavy-handed with its dystopian themes, but the real takeaway is that Halsey’s a 20-year-old with a damn beautiful knack for storytelling.
That narrative talent, we now know, even manifests itself into her covers of other artists’ work. Case in point: during an in-studio appearance on BBC Radio 1, the New Jersey native brilliantly blended an unexpected trio of songs: “one of which I can’t stop singing, one of which is by an artist that I’m going to be joining on tour, and one of which is my own,” she said.
Those tracks turned out to be, respectively, Justin Bieber’s “What Do You Mean,” The Weeknd’s “Often” and her own “Young God.” The killer mashup began with “What Do You Mean’s” familiar ticking clock and piano-driven arrangement, before unraveling into “Often,” which replaced the original chorus’ thumping bass with twinkling keys. There’s a lyric in that song that goes, “In my city I’m a young god,” which served as the perfect segue into her Badlands track “Young God.”
Somehow, someway, Halsey weaved the three tracks together seamlessly, proving she’s practically a musical magician. No word yet on whether she and The Weeknd will collab on a formal “Often”/“Young God” mashup when they hit the road together on tour later this year, but we can only hope.
Listen below to hear the mashup (it begins at the 22:37 mark), as well as Halsey’s performances of “Hurricane,” “New Americana,” and an interview in which she discusses everything from her rapping skills to her “Hunger Games” obsession.